FLORENCE — The anticipation finally ended Wednesday morning for Heather Bradford and her sister, Jennifer Kamp.
“You just don’t know how long we’ve been waiting for this,” Bradford, of Sheffield, told a Publix Super Markets store manager as she grabbed a shopping cart and headed into the store.
The long-awaited store at 322 Cox Creek Parkway in the Renaissance City Center opened its doors at 6:45 a.m., and stayed busy throughout the day.
The 55,000-square-foot store is the first Publix in the Shoals.
“We grew up in south Florida, and there were Publix stores everywhere,” Bradford said. “Since we moved here we’ve been going to Athens and Decatur for Publix, so we’ve been counting down the days.”
The store has about 160 workers, although some 300 employees, including those from nearby Publix stores, were on hand for the opening to help meet the demand, Publix officials said.
The parking lot outside the store remained virtually full all day.
“It’s about time we got one,” Florence resident Sherry Howard said as she checked out with a buggy full of groceries. “I love Publix.”
Howard said she especially likes the atmosphere and fresh produce.
“You have more options here than at other stores,” she said.
According to a Publix release, the store includes the traditional grocery sections, along with:
Publix is privately owned and operated by its 152,000 workers and has 1,065 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.
The company’s website states this is the second opening this month. A store opened Dec. 6 in Naples, Fla. Two additional Florida stores, in Orlando and Longboat, open today.
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.